Saint Teresa Of Calcutta
The spartan nature of Mother Teresa's bedroom at the Mother House in Kolkata, India illustrates the simplicity of her life, despite the fame she received during her lifetime.
Being able to view this site was a profound and humbling experience. I traveled to Kolkata specifically to visit Mother House, where Mother Teresa rests in a beautifully crafted tomb. I wanted to visit the Home for the Dying, but was not successful in gaining permission to do so - possibly because I introduced myself, by phone, as a photographer.
Why Did I Journey To Kolkata?
My mother ran a charitable retail shop in my hometown, Hamilton, for 18 years where she worked, wage free, during much of my childhood and early adulthood. Namaste or The Indian Shop, as it was called by locals, sourced clothing, handicrafts and jewelry from developing countries, particularly India. Profits from sales were re-directed back to a series of projects (e.g., housing, hospitals, education and employment) my mother supported and, in some cases, completely funded in a variety of countries.
Some of Mother Teresa's projects received funding from the shop Namaste and my mother had visited Kolkata in the 60’s and 70’s for audiences with the mother. It seemed like a good idea, now that my mum is very elderly, for me to return to India to visit and photograph some of the projects my mother had supported over the years.
I thought it important to photograph this good work and to share those images, primarily, with my mum's eleven grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren so that they had some understanding of the commitment my mother had made to the less fortunate in our world.
A life such as this should not be easily forgotten and I wanted to take some responsibility to ensure that all members of our family were aware of the good and selfless work my mother undertook on behalf of the disadvantaged and dispossessed.
Saint Teresa Of Calcutta
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, the capital of what is now Macedonia, the then sister Teresa arrived in Calcutta in 1931 and, after years as a member of the Sisters Of Loreto (incidentally the house at primary school that I was assigned to), founded the Missionaries Of Charity religious order in 1950.
Awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003 and, after a second miracle had been attributed to her intercession, Mother Teresa was canonized as Saint Teresa on September 4, 2016 by Pope Francis.
It was a privilege to visit Mother House in Kolkata and I'm very happy to share my images from that visit with you here.